[FoRK] Stupid commercial (i.e. Microsoft) software "features"

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at lig.net > on > Thu Mar 16 07:10:36 PST 2006

Things that annoy me daily, nay hourly.  Things that wouldn't last a 
week in the open source world.

Why does Windows XP wireless configuration force you to enter a WEP key 
twice for verification?
26 digits and I have to enter them twice?
What is that dialog box going to tell me that I won't know in half the 
time it takes me to type them in the second time?
(Obvious: you are entering a key that is about to be tested 
cryptographically.  Entering it twice only INCREASES your chances of 
making a mistake.  Because it's so obviously superfluous, it causes you 
to hurry on the second entry meaning that it is more than twice as 
likely that you'll make a mistake.)

Why does Office XP 2003 (Word, etc.) try to install conversion modules 
when I open a file of 0 bytes?
Is it so hard to add a simple line of code to avoid having to debug 
what's going on?
if (stat(file).size == 0) warnuser(...

One thing that hasn't been solved very well even for open source yet is 
stupid file open/save dialog boxes.  First of all, this should be 
pluggable and allow you to have a separate application to manage this.  
Second, give me some features, stickyness, intelligence, scripting, 
predictive action, etc.  I hate spending far too much time traversing 
the file tree because I don't want to put everything in "My Documents".  
Not to mention often used directories with spaces in their names.  Idiots.

The costs of these subpar engineering aspects is staggering when 
accumulated and they are all trivial to solve.

Some day I'm going to start a project for the file open/save dialog box, 
get it adopted by the open source world and learn the rest of how to do 
"windows subclassing" to add it to all Windows applications.  There's a 
big market there, but it's down my queue a ways.  I'll partner with 
anyone who wants to work on it however.


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